Good advice for parents buying children’s books
Children’s books are written and illustrated to be read over and over again. Some colleges have courses dedicated to teaching the best ways to drill letter and pattern recognition, phonics, syntax and basic communication through repetitive reading of the same book. And if you read a book enough times, you’ll see your little one start to memorize some of the pages and recite it with you. It’s so much fun when that happens.
But there comes a time in every book’s life when the thought of gouging your eyes out with lemon-doused oyster shells is far more preferable to reading it again. And to be clear, this has nothing to do with the quality of the book. We’re HUGE Nick Bland fans. We have every book about every bear he’s ever written about. But even those started to wear.
The good thing about quality kids’ books is that the quality always shines through a second time around. So when you get to the oyster shell point with a book you know is good, just put it away for a bit. Don’t give it to a friend because you’ll never get it back. But think about making a book bin where your favourites go. Every so soften, do a swap and bring a few of them back into rotation.
What you’ll see clearly is how well your kids retain the information from a good book. They’ll remember the dancing Wild Things, the details of Alexander’s terrible, horrible, no-good very bad day and roughly where Waldo is on every page.
And if we could be so bold as to recommend a new book for your rotation, check out The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak. You might get sick of it a bit quicker than other books, but it’s totally worth it for the first read.
On a related note, B.J. Novak is also an actor and co-starred in Inglorious Basterds — one of the greatest movies ever made. That’s him on the right. You probably know the guy on the left.